Bottles and brushes: tote bag printing

Last night I attended another bottles and brushes class. After attending my first class with them a few weeks ago, I decided it was good fun to get involved in something creative for a few hours on a Sunday night, and create something I probably wouldn’t have thought of myself.

Last night’s class was all about printing totes bags. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but my thoughts were that it was going to be a class designed to encourage us to create a stamp and then print that onto plain canvas tote bags…. and I was correct! Unfortunately I was too keen in getting stuck in straight away so I didn’t take too many pictures and hardly any of the materials we used, but it was definitely good fun.

On our table we were given:

a plain canvas tote bag,


two square pieces of foam with one sticky side

a wooden block

some paintbrushes

scissors and an artist knife

fabric & acrylic paint

a pencil & biro pen

a test piece of fabric

and inspiration/ design idea sheets

I started out by practicing which design I wanted to do on my bag. I wanted to choose something that I know I would use but also a fairly simple design so that it didn’t take too long to make the stamp. I settled on some lips. I thought it would be a good idea to do a series of different colours and just randomly stamp all over the bag.

Once you have drawn your design onto the square of foam, cut it out. Add any indentations or extra bits of flare with a biro pen. This is what creates the gap/ indent in the middle of the lips design. Adhere the foam to the block of wood, by removing the cover of the sticky side, load the foam with fabric paint (or 1 part fabric paint, 2 parts acrylic – your choice) and stamp all over the bag and get crazy.

It really was that simple!

We put pieces of newspaper inside the totes so that any paint didn’t seep through onto the other side or transfer to the inside of the bag.

There were lots of very cute and unique patterns, some people did a repeat pattern like me, others alternated with different shapes or themes, painting with block colour or ombre effects. Some of the designs I saw were dragonflies, spots, bees and honeycomb, watermelon, raindrops, hearts and leaves. It’s something that is so easy to do and you could even consider creating something like this as a gift for someone, that way you can make it personal to them!

The other bag in the picture below belongs to my friend Danielle, she went for an autumnal leaf design, using two alternate designs and colours.

This was the ‘back’ of my bag, I decided to do a different design with the same stamp

I have really enjoyed the bottles and brushes classes so far that I have attended. Im a very creative, artsy person so I love learning new crafts and techniques. Tote bag printing isn’t something I think I’d do at home because I don’t have all of the materials, and it’s just not a project that I’ve every thought about but a class like this can sprout lots of interesting ideas!

For those of you who don’t know, Bottle and Brushes are a creative small business in South Wales that take classes roughly once every few weeks in a number of locations such as Llandaff, Caerphilly and Penarth. I found out about their classes on Facebook.

Have a great day,

Amy x

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